Friday, April 25, 2014

Reflections on the A-Z Challenge

I did the A-Z challenge on my personal blog this year. For those of you who don't know, the A-Z Challenge runs every April. Bloggers write a blog post for each letter of the alphabet, one a day except for Sundays. Then you hop from blog to blog, reading other blogger's entries. It is a lot of fun, and it has helped me form my own network of writers, and has even helped me make new friends. This year was no exception: I found several awesome blogs, and possibly formed one real friendship. I guess time will tell.  However, I quit after the letter T, which is why I am doing my reflection on the challenge early.

There were a huge number of participants this year--2034 remain on the linky list, though many of those didn't really participate. It was a bit cumbersome. But my problem had nothing to do with the Challenge itself. It was still incredibly awesome. The real problem was that I didn't have the time to make my posts as cute as I wanted them to be. However, I liked some of my posts, and this one was my favorite:

Writers are obsessive people. Steven Saylor said, "Writing a first novel takes so much effort with such little promise of result or reward, that it must necessarily be a labor of love bordering on madness." I would add that writing a second novel, with the full knowledge that writing the first one was even harder than you'd feared is probably a sign of a completely deranged mind. By the third novel though, I imagine most people are starting to feel more at home obsessing about their novel than not. 

I know I am. Yesterday I finished Ana's rough draft of Pyromancy...

(Long pause for applause. Oh, please, standing Ovations. Not yet. Well. If you must...) This reminds me that O is also for Oreo milkshakes, which I promised myself once I finished. 

As I was saying, yesterday I finished Ana's part of Pyromancy--and I'll tell you, I spent the rest of the day having no idea what to think about. In the past few months I have begun dreaming Ana's dreams, thinking Ana's thoughts. Sometimes I even forget I could not run a marathon on a beach and then hurry off to my boxing class. (Snort.) It's obsession, pure and simple, and I don't know how to write a novel any other way. I wish I did. I'm a big believer in balance. But somehow balance and novel writing have never gone hand in hand in my life.

And I'm not alone. is a website devoted to this kind of obsession. Here are a few of my favorite quotes:

You know you're a writer when...
  • your mood depends on what's going on in your story.
  • you forget your real life for your fictional world.
  • you know your characters better than yourself.
  • you sit down to write for half an hour and before you know it 5 hours have gone by.
  • you shut down your computer and get into bed, only to think of something that you have to write down, so you get out of bed and start your computer up again.
Which reminds me of one of my own. You know you're a writer when...
  • you're trying to write a grocery list, but every scrap of paper you can find is filled with random snippets of dialogue or beautifully worded phrases that make no sense at all out of context.


  1. You did great. I couldn't keep going as long as you did. If something is making you miserable, it's just not worth doing. :)

    Great Job!

  2. Yep, loved reading this post on your blog! Such a good one! So glad to know I'm not the only one who has trouble finding that balance between life and novel's a tricky one! :)


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